By Gilly Carr
Herbert Gallichan was born in the parish of Trinity, Jersey, on 26 June 1914, the younger brother of George Gallichan. In 1929 he moved to Canada but returned to Jersey in 1933 aged 19. At the time of the registration of islanders in January 1941, Gallichan was 26 years old, single, working as a commercial assistant, and living at Roseland in the parish of St Peter. This was the same address as George Gallichan senior, undoubtedly the men’s father.
On 3 June 1942, the Germans ordered the confiscation of all radios in the Channel Islands. This angered very many people. A pamphlet was distributed by ‘The British Patriots’ (really George and Herbert Gallichan), who distributed their Bulletin no. 1 in Jersey on 15 June 1942. This bulletin stated that:
‘Article 53 of the Hague Convention quite definitely does not give the German authorities the right to confiscate cycles, wireless sets or any other form of private property. Since the occupation of the island, we have done all in our power to maintain peaceful relations to the enemy, so much so that the occupying authorities cannot point to one single hostile act of the population towards the forces of occupation. We have, in fact, carried pacification to the point of seriously compromising our hour. It follows therefore that the German authorities have neither legal nor moral rights to confiscate wireless sets, yet this they intend doing. For our part, we refuse to comply with the confiscation order. It is for you to decide in the light of this brief impartial expose, what your own attitude is to be. But whatever your decision, be careful to give the German authorities no cause for offence in your dealings with them; under all circumstances, be coldly polite, be tactful, be discreet, Thus you will give them no justification to take reprisals against you or the remainder of the population.’
On 20 July, the Germans took ten hostages, urging the culprits who had written the leaflets to surrender to the German authorities. Local historian Joe Mière named the hostages as Frank Tregear, Tony Huelin, George Le Cocq, Philip Le Cornu, W.H. Kennett, Harry Ferguson, Advocate Giffard, Doctor Mattas, Colonel Welbourne and Henry Vallois. He stated that two more men were then taken hostage: Connétable Crill and Arthur Verrin and, on 24 June, three further men: George Smith, Frank Smith and Alfred Marrett. He names George Smith as the man who knew that Herbert and George Gallichan were behind the bulletin. He also states that George Smith was let out of prison on 25 June 1942. He hints that it was George Smith who told the Gallichan brothers that ‘if they did not give themselves up then many innocent people would suffer’ and that ‘they must give themselves up to the Germans within 24 hours or he would have to disclose who they were.’ We might observe that the maiden name of George Gallichan’s wife, Agnes, was Smith. Was George Smith her brother and was this how he knew of the bulletin and of the danger that his sister may have been placed in?
Herbert and George Gallichan then came forward. Mière states that a ‘Mr Collins’ and James McDermott were also arrested for distributing the leaflets, but no conviction can be found for either of these men, indicating that they may have been released without charge.
On 7 July 1942, Herbert Gallichan was sentenced by court martial to five years’ imprisonment for ‘the manufacture and distribution of leaflets’. As his name does not appear in Jersey’s political prisoner log book, it seems likely that he and George were deported immediately.
The next we hear of Herbert is Fort d’Hautville Prison in Dijon, where he arrived with his brother on 22 July 1942. According to his prison documents, he was transferred to Dijon Prison on 11 August 1942. The separation of the brothers from each other must have been hard for them both to bear.
To find out what happened next to Herbert Gallichan, we must turn to the records of the International Tracing Service. These indicate that he was sent next to Freiburg Prison on 14 August 1942, where he stayed for just 5 days. On 19 August 1942 he was sent to Wolfenbüttel Prison. We know just one further pieces of information: that Wolfenbüttel Prison was predominantly for Nacht und Nebel (NN) prisoners. These were resisters sentenced by special tribunals out of public view. Their relatives were purposefully not informed of their whereabouts, which served to terrorize them. Although Gallichan’s status is unknown, the fact that he was in this prison certainly indicates that the Nazis took his resistance very seriously.
Gallichan stayed in that prison until its liberation. According to Joe Miere, Herbert Gallichan returned to Jersey after the war. At some point he moved to America and died there in the 1990s. The Frank Falla Archive would welcome contact from his family if they have further details to share.
Herbert Gallichan, Occupation registration card and forms, Jersey Archives ref. D/S/A/10/A454 and B454.
Herbert Gallichan’s court records, Jersey Archives ref. D/Z/H6/3/85.
Herbert Gallichan’s records at Fort d’Hauteville Prison, Archives Départementales Côte d’Or, ref. 1409 W.
Records of Herbert Gallichan, International Tracing Service, Wiener Library refs. 11340295/0/1 (Wolfenbuettel), 11374979/0/1 (Freiburg), 11375002/0/1 (Freiburg), 11340295/0/2 (Wolfenbuettel), 11340296/0/1 (Wolfenbuettel), 11340176/0/1 (Wolfenbuettel), 11340197/0/1 (Wolfenbuettel)
Text of Bulletin of British Patriots on display at Jersey War Tunnels.
Mière, J. 2004. Never to be Forgotten, Channel Islands Publishing.
Sanders, P. 2015. ‘Radio Days’, pp. 65-96 in G. Carr, P. Sanders and L. Willmot, Protest, Defiance and Resistance in the Channel Islands: German Occupation 1940-1945. Bloomsbury Academic Publishing.